The Aspar organization launched their MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 campaigns in Valencia on Tuesday, ahead of next week's season opener at Qatar. After the launch, they issued the following press releases:
Kevin Schwantz issued the following statement today, in response to previous statements made by the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, about the Grand Prix of the Americas, to be held at the Austin track on 21st April:
SCHWANTZ RESPONSE TO CotA STATEMENT
"Last week, Circuit of the Americas (CotA) issued a statement suggesting I had nothing to do with bringing MotoGP to Austin. Unlike others who have had disputes with CotA, I am free to speak my mind. So let me set the record straight: I am the reason MotoGP is coming to Texas and no one currently associated with CotA had anything to do with the design of the actual race track. There's no shortage of evidence to prove these facts.
Good news for US motorcycle racing fans at last. After it was announced that the US TV channel Speed was to be subsumed into the Fox Sports 1 network, and Fox decided to drop Formula One, there were fears that MotoGP would not be screened on US TV. Those fears were further fanned when it appeared that World Superbikes would not be on US TV, an issue that was only resolved in a last-minute deal between Dorna and beIN Sports TV.
MotoGP fans need not worry, however. Today, Fox announced that they have signed a multi-year contract with Dorna to broadcast MotoGP on Speed, and then Fox Sports 1, when the new sports channel is launched on 17th August, the day before the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit. All MotoGP races are to be broadcast live on the network, with the rounds outside the US using the international commentary feed of Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett1, while the three US rounds will see a US-based team provide coverage, with veteran racing broadcaster Bob Varsha hosting, and Ralph Sheheen, Jonathan Green, Scott Russel and Greg White supplying commentary both from the booth and from pit lane.
Below is the press release from Dorna announcing the deal, and a second press release from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with more details on the agreement:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the final day of testing at Jerez:
Luis Salom leaves the final Moto3 test ahead of the 2013 season opener at Qatar as the fastest man, after the Red Bull KTM rider put in a blistering lap in the final moments of the last session. Salom ended the day nearly quarter of second quicker than Alex Rins, and six tenths faster than Rins' teammate Alex Marquez to lead a trio of KTMs once again, though the improvement by Miguel Oliveira on the Suter-built Mahindra, and Niccolo Antonelli on the FTR Honda offer some hope that the domination by the Austrian brand will not be entirely complete.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the third day of testing at Jerez:
The third day of testing for Moto3 started well for Maverick Viñales, the Team Calvo rider setting the fastest time of the day in the early session, but ended badly, Viñales crashing heavily later in the afternoon. The Spaniard fell at Turn 11, the fastest corner of the circuit, getting his hand trapped under his handlebars and grinding the top of his right ring finger off. Viñales was examined at the circuit, before flying back to Barcelona for further medical attention. He will undergo surgery on the finger on Thursday, and should be fit enough for the first race at Qatar on 7th April.
Viñales was not the only crasher. San Carlo Team Italia rider Francesco Bagnaia also fell badly, the young Italian being less fortunate. Bagnaia fractured the radius bone in his left wrist, and will be forced to miss the season opener, returning for the second race at Austin, Texas.
Veteran World Superbike TV commentator - and commentator of many other premium motorsports series - Jonathan Green has been enlisted by the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, to help promote the Austin round of MotoGP, scheduled for 21st April this year. To this end, Green engaged the help of Colin Edwards to talk him around the track, and explain the ins and outs of the Texas circuit.
Despite the wind noise which blights some of the commentary, it offers an interesting insight into the nature of the track, with Edwards helping to unlock some of the secrets of the circuit. The video follows below:
Electronics are to take a further step in the world of motorcycle racing this season. In addition to being abundant throughout engine and chassis, Moto2 and Moto3 official tire supplier Dunlop is to introduce them into the tires. In an official press release issued today, Dunlop announced that they will be using RFID chips in the spec tires used in Moto2 and Moto3, to keep precise track of the tires used in both classes.
For the moment, the technology will be used solely to track tire usage in Moto2 and Moto3. Tiny RFID chips will be built into the official Dunlop tires during the manufacturing process, each programmed with a unique identifying code. Sensors in pit lane (shown in the photo here on the Dunlop website) will monitor when each tire leaves pit lane, and when they return. Using the database which maps which tires have been allocated to which riders, Dunlop can keep precise track of which tires have been used when, and for how long.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the rained-out second day of testing at Jerez:
The rain in Spain fell mainly along the southern coast on Tuesday, with very large quantities - the kind of torrential downpour that would rival Sepang - falling at the Circuito de Velocidad in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. With rain so heavy it reduced visibility to a few meters at times, the circuit endured a soaking that left standing water on the circuit for most of the day, forcing a late start and severely curtailing track time for both the Moto2 and Moto3 classes on the second day of the Jerez test.
Conditions improved a little towards the end of the day, a dry line starting to form, but with both Moto2 and Moto3 bikes on track at the same time, riders in both classes were more concerned about avoiding injury ahead of the season opener than they were with pushing for a very fast time.
The wet weather brought out the best in English-speaking riders. In Moto2, Scott Redding topped the timesheets, the Marc VDS Racing rider already having perfected his wet set up the last time Moto2 was in Jerez back in February. Toni Elias followed in second slot, three tenths off the pace of Redding, while Dominique Aegerter, Mike di Meglio and the inevitable-in-the-wet Ant West rounded out the top five.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of testing at Jerez:
Blue skies and warm weather greeted the Moto2 and Moto3 riders in Jerez, for the start of the final test ahead of the season opener at Qatar. The weather helped the Moto3 men and woman get up to speed quickly, though there was plenty of work going on in the pits as well. Mapfre Aspar's Jonas Folger ended the day as fastest, the German bringing a welcome break to the hegemony of Spanish riders which has so far been a feature of Moto3 testing. Folger's progress was clear from the previous test, improving his own time by six tenths of a second, to lead Alex Rins by a quarter of a second.
While the Kalex KTM rider spent his afternoon concentrating on riding, the three Spaniards who followed him all had new parts to test for their factory KTM machines. Alex Rins was the best of the group, though there was nothing to choose between him, Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom. That trio has dominated testing so far, but today, they did not have the measure of Folger.
Brad Binder is the first of the non-KTMs, the Ambrogio Racing man three quarters of a second behind Folger. Binder's Suter Honda leads Miguel Oliveira on the Suter-built Mahindra, while Binder's teammate Danny Webb took 7th spot, and the last rider to get within a second of Folger.
In three weeks' time, the 2013 season gets underway for all three Grand Prix classes, and motorcycle racing's winter will finally be over. Before that, there is a week of testing at Jerez, where first the Moto2 and Moto3 classes get their final run out on the track from Monday through Thursday, before MotoGP takes to the track on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Testing at Jerez may be affordable for GP's junior classes, but it does not come without risk. Moto2 and Moto3 tested at both Valencia and Jerez in February, and while conditions were sunny and dry, if a little cool at Valencia, the test at Jerez was very mixed indeed, with rain disrupting two of the three days of testing. This test looks just as likely to be disrupted by rain: while good weather is forecast for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, Tuesday looks like being a total washout.
The Marc VDS Racing team issued the following press release ahead of the Moto2 and Moto3 tests due to get underway at Jerez from Monday: